March 31, 1988
Paul Pioneer Press
Denfeld grad wins Hobey Baker award
By Charlie Hallman
LAKE PLACID, N.Y.—For Americans, the Olympic
hockey arena in Lake Placid is a special place. Eight years ago,
the United States hockey team won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics,
a feat universally described as the “Miracle on Ice.”
On Wednesday afternoon, a goaltender from Duluth
became the latest American hockey hero.
Robb Stauber, a University of Minnesota sophomore,
became the eighth recipient of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award —
given annually since 1981 to collegiate hockey’s top player.
“I am surprised,” Stauber said. “I
didn’t think I was going to win it. I didn’t find out
until five minutes before the awards ceremony. I didn’t know
how to react.”
Stauber, a 1986 Denfeld graduate, led the Gophers
to the National Collegiate Athletic Association semifinals, which
begin tonight. He has a 34-8 record, a 2.66 goals-against average
and has recorded a team record five shutouts, including three in
six playoff games.
His 34 wins, 1,171 saves, 42 games and 2,502 minutes
played are Minnesota records.
Stauber has allowed three goals or fewer in 34
games and has a 5-1 record and 1.33 goals-against average in the
playoffs. He has started every Gopher game.
“For Minnesota, the difference is the guy
between the pipes,” said Michigan State Coach Ron Mason, whose
team was eliminated by Minnesota in the quarterfinals. “John
Blue was a good goaltender last year, and Frank Pietrangelo was
a good goaltender the year before, but this kid is great.”
Stauber is also adept at handling the puck and
has assisted on five goals this season.
He is the first goalie to win the Hobey Baker,
named for a former Princeton hockey star who died in World War I.
He is the second recipient from the University
of Minnesota—Neal Broten of Roseau won the inaugural award
Another native Minnesotan, Tom Kurvers of Bloomington,
won the Hobey Baker in 1984 as a denfenseman at UMD. Kurvers’
teammate, Bill Watson, won the award the next season.
“It’s a wonderful honor to receive,”
Stauber said at the press conference called to announce the winner.
“But I’m really happy we’re not going to have
to play until Friday so I can get over the excitement. Individual
awards are great, but team awards are better. The real reason I’m
in Lake Placid is I’m part of the University of Minnesota
team and my main goal is to win the national championship. I believe
we’re a good contender and, like my teammates, that is what
Stauber, who is 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, dedicated
the award to his teammates.
“Without their consistent play in front
of me, I wouldn’t have had a chance for this,” he said.
Stauber had an outstanding junior season at Denfeld,
but struggled for most of his senior year. He played well in the
playoffs and led the Hunters to third place in the Minnesota state
tournament, earning a scholarship offer from the Gophers.
Asked if he planned to return to Minnesota for
his junior season (the Los Angeles Kings own his National Hockey
League rights), Stauber said, “The University of Minnesota
and Coach Woog made a commitment to me and I have a commitment to
play at Minnesota. I enjoy college life and especially the university
and plan to stay.”
Woog said he was “overjoyed that Robbie
won the award. Nobody exemplifies the meaning of this award, both
on and off the ice, more than Stauber. I can’t think of a
guy we’ve had in our program who has done a better job.”
Stauber’s father Del, mother Jean and brother
Pete were in the audience. Pete, a 25-goal scorer at Lake Superior
State, plays in tonight’s semifinal game against Maine.
Robb is the fifth of six hockey-playing brothers.
He said he became a goalie because, “I guess everyone else
in the family wanted someone to shoot at.”